"I am 60 years young. I have been living in Northeast for about 50-some years. I left once to go to Newark, New Jersey and stayed gone for eight years. I came back because I could not live no place else but D.C. The people in New Jersey were fine and everything, but there wasn't a sense of closeness. If I walk down the street and look at you and say, "Good morning,' what would your reply to me be? In New Jersey, they don't know. You say good morning and they don't say nothing. Here in Washington, even the winos say good morning to you.
"Today, I am taking my granddaughter, my great niece, and the two girls I take care of out on a stroll. These girls have no connection to D.C. because no one has taught them anything about this city. What they know about this city is that if you hear gun shots, you hit the floor. But there is so much beauty here, especially on H Street, that I am trying to show them. Back in the 60's, H Street was a beautiful place to walk and go shopping. On Sundays, parents would stroll up and down the street after church. After the riots, it all changed.
"As I look around, our black children need help. There are a lot of bright, young black kids out here, but there is not a lot out there for them. All they need is something to do and somewhere to go, so that they can be proud of themselves. I am so proud that my granddaughter wants to be a doctor and my great niece wants to be a lawyer. But no one talks about that - what black children want to be. They talk about what they do that is not right. Like I said, there are a lot of positive black children out there. We need to help them for a change.
"I would like to get a hold of the people passing laws and just shake 'em. Some of those people have no knowledge of what life is really like in the inner city of Washington, D.C. They just pass these laws. I mean, laws are fine, but if they are not working year-after-year, why are you keeping them? Some of them are as silly as silly can be. Look at what is going on with H Street. Why are you going to put in a streetcar? We already have buses and cabs. Instead of putting in this nonsense, build some schools. Streetcars were on H St. when I was a little girl. You decided to tear them down once already. Now, you want them back? This is silly nonsense. If you want to develop this area, develop the schools and help our children.
"When I went to school, you could play in peace. There was no cussing and fighting going on like you have today. You didn't have children running for their lives. I lost my son to these streets. He was a professional boxer and had been accepted to the University of Maryland. He got caught up with the wrong crowd. You know, the day he died, I had a bad feeling. Mothers can sense things. I remember driving to work and seeing an ambulance pass. I said, 'Lord, someone just lost their baby.' It turns out that it was my son in the ambulance. He had been shot. I was working as a nurse at the time, so they let me see my boy at the hospital. He was shot in the head and up and down his arm. I knew my baby was gone. People say that this is part of life on the streets, but I won't accept that. See, I believe in God. My son did not belong to me, but to God. I guess God wanted to take him back. I accept that, but I will never accept the violence in my community."
From left to right, Precious, Dominique, Oluwaferanmi, Leondria, and Carol.